Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Style -

Oh, she cer­tainly told me some in­ter­est­ing, some­times out­ra­geous sto­ries. Not the typ­i­cal bed­time kind,” De­nis Westhoff rem­i­nisces over a slice of mar­bled cheese­cake at Dean & DeLuca in Marunouchi, Tokyo’s prime busi­ness dis­trict. “She wasn’t a con­ven­tional mother, she was more like a friend, and al­ways spoke to me as an adult, with in­tel­li­gence and hu­mour, and about ideas. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” Mother was Françoise Sa­gan, the pro­lific French au­thor and play­wright whose first novel Bon­jour Tristesse, writ­ten at 18, brought her overnight fame, and cat­a­pulted her into that in­evitabil­ity of fast cars, heavy drugs, sex­ual free­dom, and he­do­nis­tic ex­cess. (“Whisky, gam­bling, and Fer­raris are bet­ter than house­work,” she once said.) Westhoff, her only child, now 51, wrote his mem­oir Sa­gan et Fils in 2012 “to tell the truth, that she was an hon­est, warm, aris­to­cratic and very so­cially aware per­son”, and not, as she was fa­mously nick­named by France’s lit­er­ary elite, a “charm­ing lit­tle mon­ster”.

Across the road from us, stand­ing red­brick and ma­jes­tic is The Tokyo Sta­tion, the cap­i­tal’s 100-year-old fully func­tional cen­tral train hub, newly re­freshed as one of the cap­i­tal’s iconic land­marks, com­plete with a five-star ho­tel, con­cert hall, and art gallery. On the ground floor, in a grand ex­hi­bi­tion space, Sa­gan’s hand­writ­ten manuscripts – from an im­pres­sive oeu­vre of some 30 nov­els and 12 plays, also bi­ogra­phies of Brigitte Bar­dot and Sarah Bern­hardt – sit like

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